by, 03-09-2008 at 09:08 AM (653 Views)
I posted this under general writing but thought I'd like to store it here. It is of a religious nature but not a controversial one, I hope.
Reading the title above, some of you may be singing or humming that famous Fiddler on the Roof song as you read this little entry and I hope you won't be disappointed. This is about something that happened on Friday, March 7th, 2008, from sunrise to sunset all around the world. Every year, on the first Friday of March, the women and children of a particular country are upheld at World Day of Prayer worship services in over 170 countries. It is an ecumenical service and our small town was represented by the Church of Christ, the Nazarenes, the Methodists, the Catholics, the Presbyterians, and quite a few women who don't attend any church. The Missouri synod Lutherans, Baptists and other fundamental churches will not participate for their own personal reasons. Each year we get more and more men participating also. I have a woman friend who refuses to attend because she feels the program defeats itself by not praying for the men, where, she feels, the real problems begin. I will have to let her know that our brothers were indeed included.
This year's program was written by the women of Guyana, to rejoice with them at the astonishing natural beauty of their country. "Come with us as we acknowledge the Wisdom of God in the marvelous works of creation." Guyana, the "land of six people and many waters", is located on the northeast tip of South America on the Atlantic Ocean, nestled between Venezuela, Surinam and Brazil. Lakes, streams and mighty rivers intersect this land of lush rainforests and spectacular flora and fauna. It is actually most closely linked to its Caribbean neighbors.
Through an early morning bible study and speaker, followed by the afternoon session of prayers, scripture, drama, dance, songs and a slide presentation, we learned about the complex history and cultural legacies of colonialism that continue to this day. Guyana is also struggling with HIV/AIDS, violence against women, trafficking of women and children, unemployment and the lack of opportunities for young people. The offering collected is then sent to the World Day of Prayer organization for distribution. Guyana, being an English speaking country, made the music very easy this year. I have been the music leader in past years when the highlighted country's music was a real struggle. I adore all of it but it can be extremely difficult.
The program is written to uphold everyone in the country, no matter what faith they are or whether they even have a faith at all. So, what good is it, to stand with my sisters in a small town in Indiana, to sing and pray for a country so far removed from us? Education, understanding, awareness, and compassion are some of the good, not to mention building a relationship with the women of our own community. And though our offering plates were literally spilling over with money, we know that our little bit only becomes a lot when it is joined with the offerings of women from countries all over the world.
I encourage you to go to your calendars and mark down the first Friday of March as World Day of Prayer. The list of countries now working on future programs are Papua New Guinea 2009, Cameroon 2010, Chile 2011, Malaysia 2012, France 2013, Egypt 2014, and The Bahamas 2015. Whether you choose to participate in a local service or not, will you consider holding the women and children of these countries in your thoughts, your prayers or your meditations on that special day?
And may I leave you with the artwork of Winslow Craig, a young budding Guyanese artist of Carib, Arawak and Afro ancestry? The artist's view of the symbol was premised upon the Amerindian central way of life. The Cacique Crown is the Crown of the Godhead - the wisdom, light rays, love and togetherness. The Cacique Crown is the Amerindian chief's headdress.